Fuyu no Tsuki, pure-rice ginjo unfiltered sake brewed by KAMIKOKOROSHUZO
Today, sake is a favorite drink of people in many countries throughout the world.
When Japan first began exporting sake, pasteurized sake that could be managed at room temperature was the mainstream product.
In the decades since then, it has become possible to provide sake such as seasonal brands with stable quality due to the remarkable progress of transportation methods, as well as the understanding and efforts of local retail liquor stores and restaurants. Some countries have reached the point of offering a full lineup of sake even rivals the selections in Japan. One such type of sake is unfiltered sake, which requires a higher level of management.
This sake was first brewed in Japan 20 years ago in the winter of 2000.
Fuyu no Tsuki was born into the world as a pioneer prior to the big boom of unfiltered sake that has now overtaken Japan. At that time, the Japanese sake industry was in a golden age of light and dry sake, as represented by Niigata.
However, Fuyu no Tsuki was on the complete other end of the spectrum as a rich sake which fully elicits the umami flavor of rice. Since we were committed to brewing Fuyu no Tsuki completely by hand, only 726 bottles were produced the first year. At that point in time, Fuyu no Tsuki was the ultimate in pure-rice ginjo unfiltered sake. The production of Fuyu no Tsuki used the same rice-pressing method (commonly known as fukuro-dori or "bag hanging") as super premium ginjo sake for all rice used in brewing.
Also, back then, the distribution system for maintaining the refrigerated state of sake in Japan was insufficient. It was difficult to deliver sake in a stable state, which caused a great deal of trouble to liquor stores during the first few years.
Even so, Fuyu no Tsuki left a great impression and impact on customers who actually purchased and drank the sake. Although that era was before the proliferation of SNS, the high reputation of Fuyu no Tsuki spread gradually. From the winter of the fifth year, the sales area had expanded to all of Japan.
Twenty years after its release, Fuyu no Tsuki remains a driving force in the Japanese unfiltered sake market.
Another characteristic of this sake is found in the selection of rice for sake brewing.
Okayama Prefecture, where KAMIKOKOROSHUZO is located, is one of the leading granary regions in Japan. Okayama Prefecture possesses a leading share in the production of major rice brands suitable for sake brewing (Yamada Nishiki, Omachi) in Japan. In particular, Okayama Prefecture boasts 90% of the national production for Omachi rice. KAMIKOKOROSHUZO also engages in contract cultivation in collaboration with local farmers. KAMIKOKOROSHUZO has always belonged to the school of sake brewing established by brewmasters from the ancient Bicchu region of Okayama. This school became famous throughout Japan for using abundant amounts of raw rice for brewing, even during the era of rice shortages around World War Two. Among such breweries, KAMIKOKOROSHUZO expanded its focus beyond rice specifically cultivated for sake brewing. We were one of the first breweries to study the sake-making properties of general rice cultivated for eating. Valuing the concept of terroir which refers to unique regional flavors, we focused not only on the Akihikari rice used in Fuyu no Tsuki, but also on the utilization of Akebono rice, Asahi rice, and other brands of rice cultivated for eating. In this way, KAMIKOKOROSHUZO is not bound by conventional wisdom. Instead, we draw upon the origin of Bicchu brewmasters who use abundant amounts of raw rice full of unknown appeal. The foremost feature of our brewery is how we bring out the inherent umami flavor of rice. Fuyu no Tsuki exists as the origin of this philosophy. It is our great pleasure to convey the true joy of sake to aficionados around the world through Fuyu no Tsuki.
KAMIKOKOROSHUZO CO., LTD.
Nobuhiko Fujii (Fifth generation brewmaster)